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Greenhill Books- Stug III Brigade 191- The Buffalo Brigade

ISBN Number:
978-1-78438-695-5
Published:
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Publisher:
Greenhill Books
Retail Price:
$34.95
Reviewed By:
Michael Reeves

Greenhill Books- Stug III Brigade 191- The Buffalo Brigade

In Action in the Balkans, Greece and From Moscow to Kursk and Sevastopol

Book Specifics

Author: Bruno Bork

ISBN: 978-1-78438-695-5

Price- $34.95

Hardcover, 368 pages with over 300 photographs and maps

What's Inside

Based on their experiences during the First World War, the Reichswehr decided that the infantry support gun of the future should be an armored, motorized vehicle with an effective caliber of cannon: the Sturmgeschütz III. The weapon was used in the ‘fire brigade role’ at hotspots along the Front, where it was much feared by enemy forces.

In the preface the author of the book, a former member of the Buffalo Brigade in his notes from 1977, sought to provide a cohesive record of the history of the brigade, using anecdotes, war communiques, published literature and personal accounts from the men there. It was meant as a memorial to those who fell in battle, and he mentions having trouble finding photos for the book. In a note from the 2009 edition after the death of Bork, two former brigade members provided photos that inspired this expanded new version. Bork's wife also delivered some previously unpublished pictures from her husband's literary estate helping to piece together this excellent new version.

The book is a rich volume that, as can be seen from the Table of Contents, follows the brigade over the course of it's operational history. From it's formation in late 1940, through the Balkans and into Russia from Kursk to the Crimea. As is typical of an account of German actions on the Eastern Front, it is a tale of early victories and  excruciating defeats as the tide turned against them. The book concludes as the brigade was mostly evacuated from Sevastopol and closes in the last few battles on the Southeastern Front in Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Croatia to its capitulation in Austria. 

As is usual in these sorts of volumes, the most enjoyable parts to read through are those accounts written by the soldiers involved. One in particular stands out as I have finished and am looking back- the brigade surgeon Dr. Schröder in his war diary. I found his writing to be fascinating and had a difficult time putting the book down when he was leading the narrative. The photos in the book aren't at the end of every chapter, but they do really help seal the setting and descriptions of the conditions fought in.

As a modeler, I found these couple photos particularly of interest and am curious as to the scale of the model they built...seems to be larger than 1:35...

 

These last few images show the brigade moving through Russia and eventually shipping out of the Crimea-- oftentimes the armor was moved by train and by ships when they couldn't be driven. Often, even if bridges weren't already blown by the enemy, the StuGs were too heavy and they often broke through upon crossing. 

Conclusion

I found the book to be very interesting to me- being as how the assault guns from the war- the StuGs, Sturmtigers, KV-2s, Churchill AVREs, and the like are particular favorites of mine to model. The accounts were captivating and well written and the book is a testament to how fluid combat in the Eastern Front was. If you have a similar interest, I wholeheartedly recommend this book if you don't have the prior versions- and the photos (despite some being a bit washed out due to their age) reinforce the text in adding details to the story. 

Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders and historians interested in the StuG actions on the Eastern Front.

Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review sample.

Reviewed by Michael Reeves

 

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